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Sharp, LG Among Those Guilty of Price-Fixing

According to a report by the Associated Press, LG Display Co. Ltd., Sharp Corp., and Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd. agreed to plead guilty to fixing the prices of LCD panels from roughly 2001 to 2006. Together, the three companies agreed to pay $585 million in fines for conspiring to drive up the prices of LCD screens.The companies have also agreed to cooperate in an antitrust investigation headed by the U.S. Justice Department.

According to a report by the Associated Press, LG Display Co. Ltd., Sharp Corp., and Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd. agreed to plead guilty to fixing the prices of LCD panels from roughly 2001 to 2006. Together, the three companies agreed to pay $585 million in fines for conspiring to drive up the prices of LCD screens.The companies have also agreed to cooperate in an antitrust investigation headed by the U.S. Justice Department.

According to the Justice Department, LG will pay $400 million, Sharp will pay $120 million, and Chungwa will pay $65 million. LG's fine is the second-highest criminal fine to be imposed by the Justice Department's antitrust division, reports the AP. The plea was entered in San Francisco federal court.

"These price-fixing conspiracies affected millions of American consumers who use computers, cell phones and numerous other household electronics every day," said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Scott D. Hammond, according to the AP's report. "By conspiring to drive up the price of LCD panels, consumers were forced to pay more for these products."

In a Justice Department statement, officials said LG and Chunghwa had held meetings to discuss LCD panel prices, agreed to charge predetermined prices, and exchanged sales information to monitor and enforce their agreements. Sharp, according to the Justice Department, was part of three conspiracies, specifically regarding sales of LCD panels to Apple, Dell, and Motorola.

Sharp has reportedly taken responsibility for its actions. According to the AP, Sharp's chairman and chief executive and some company directors will voluntarily return 10 percent to 30 percent of their compensation for three months starting in December.



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